Head of Department Professor Roger Daly steps down to focus on cancer research
After ten years as Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Professor Roger Daly is stepping down from this role to focus on cancer research and its clinical translation. He will continue as Co-Head of the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s (BDI) Cancer Program with Associate Professor Renea Taylor, and has also taken on a new role as Program Lead for Discovery and Innovation for Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium.
Monash BDI Director, Professor John Carroll, said he was extremely grateful to Professor Daly for his dedication, impact and significant contributions.
“Since his appointment in 2013, Roger has overseen an enormous expansion of the Department, and led during some very challenging times,” Professor Carroll said.
“Building research capacity and capability, Roger recruited 23 new Lab Heads, established cutting-edge research infrastructure that has recently included Digital Spatial Profiling, and the Department’s Group Leader Program has now been rolled out across the institute. He successfully increased and diversified the revenue stream for the Department, increasing the amount of international and commercial grants.
“Roger also made major changes to the education program, with a shift to active-learning approaches, an increased emphasis on the research/education nexus, and a greater proportion of researchers now engaged in teaching the next generation of scientists.
“Roger leaves big shoes to fill, but I wish him the very best for this next phase of his career,” he said.
Professor Daly spoke about how incredibly rewarding – and challenging – the role had been, and thanked the many members of the Department who contributed to its successes over the last decade.
“I’m proud to have overseen the many collective achievements of the Department, it has of course been a team effort of epic proportions! “Professor Daly said.
“We have gone from strength to strength in both research and teaching, with a major increase in publications in elite journals, culminating in our highest average Impact Factor of 12 last year.
“A major challenge was undoubtedly the pandemic, and in particular its impact on teaching, with our academic staff having to alter unit content and teaching delivery approaches at incredibly short notice. Their performance in this regard was incredible.
“I’m particularly proud that we also continued to focus on our people: we established a Career Development Committee that led important initiatives such as Career Strategy Panels and the Inclusion and Diversity Survey, and I was delighted to recently assist some of our PhD students launch the new PARITY (Prioritise Australian Research InvestmenT Y.) initiative, which aims to double the funding towards biomedical research, ultimately bringing Australia on par with other leading countries in this field.
“I’m very much looking forward to the next phase of my career and undertaking this in a Department that is at the forefront of its field, and would like to emphasise my continued commitment to addressing funding and career stability issues through lobbying government and funding bodies,” he said.
Professor Daly is also head of Monash BDI’s Signalling Network Laboratory, which aims to characterise - at the molecular level - how signalling is altered in cancer, and thereby identify novel therapeutic strategies for particular poor prognosis human cancers, as well as biomarkers that aid stratification of patients for optimal treatments.
He recently received the inaugural Research Excellence and Mentorship Award from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, in recognition of his significant research contributions, leadership and mentorship in the field of signal transduction, both nationally and internationally, over more than 30 years.
Professor Daly’s research is having clinical impact, leading into a major new drug development program with BioCurate, developing novel treatments for triple negative breast cancer.
Monash University will shortly initiate an international recruitment process for a new Head of Department.
About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute
Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Spanning seven discovery programs across Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Development and Stem Cells, Infection, Immunity, Metabolism, Diabetes and Obesity, and Neuroscience, Monash BDI is one of the largest biomedical research institutes in Australia. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.